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Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Week 2

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Sigh. Here we go again.

In Week 1, I managed to go a perfectly mediocre 8-8. Not great, but hey – none of us really know anything in this weird season. Hitting on half seems pretty good, right? Sure – right up until my dog goes 11-5.

Stella, staying true to her vow to leave no doubt that last year was a fluke, has leapt out to a three-game lead in the season’s first week. Things were relatively tight going into the late games, but she trounced me there, picking three of the four winners, whereas I needed that Steelers win on Monday night to even get to .500.

Obviously, there’s a lot of season left; this lead is far from insurmountable. Hell, we’re at odds on seven of this week’s contests, so I could potentially just erase that lead in one fell swoop. Of course, Stella could potentially put me in a hole so deep I spend the next two months just trying to dig myself out. But hey – that’s why they play the games!

We’ll start when the week starts. I’m picking Cincinnati to go into Cleveland and beat the Browns. I actually think that Cleveland might have the more talented roster, but the Bengals have what looks like the real deal in rookie QB Joe Burrow (although the Browns thought that about Baker Mayfield early on, but more recent reviews are … mixed). I think Burrow leads them to a win. Stella thinks the Browns have too much talent – particularly on defense – to go down to Cincy. She likes them to force a few turnovers and hand the ball off to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, grinding out a much-needed home victory.

In what promises to be one of the higher-scoring contests of the day, the Falcons are visiting Dallas. I’m going with the home Cowboys here – they just have so many offensive weapons, led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. I just don’t thing Atlanta has the defensive prowess to slow that group down. Stella thinks the same thing, only the opposite: she’s pretty sure that Dallas has no answer for Matt Ryan to Julio Jones and/or Calvin Ridley and new Falcon Todd Gurley. We might disagree on the victor, but we’re anticipating that the winner scores in the 40s.

Going with Minnesota on the road seems like a bit of a reach, but I think the Vikings have what it takes to bounce back from the beating they got from Green Bay. Stella thinks that the Colts are better than what they showed against Jacksonville. It’ll boil down to which play-it-safe relatively immobile quarterback performs better – Kirk Cousins (me) or Philip Rivers (Stella). Of course, with flashy runners like Dalvin Cook on one side and rookie Johnathan Taylor on the other, sparks may still fly.

There’s an intriguing AFC East matchup this week, with Buffalo facing off against Miami. I’m cautiously bullish on the Bills; Josh Allen is a lot of fun to watch under center. If he can keep improving and the defense gels, Buffalo will be a tough out. I like them for the road win. Stella was impressed by some of what she saw from the Dolphins against New England; she doesn’t think Fitzpatrick is the answer, but Miami hung tough throughout that game. Against a less-steady defense, she thinks they’ll move the ball much more easily.

Picking yet another road team – it’s a trend this week – I’ve got the Rams going into Philadelphia and beating the Eagles. Yes, L.A. has looked iffy so far, but I have to believe that Jared Goff and company are going to get it together behind coach Sean McVey. Plus, they have Aaron Donald on the defensive line, so there’s always that. Stella has a hunch that the Eagles are going to bounce back from their struggles against Washington – she believes that when he’s right, Carson Wentz is a top-10 NFL QB. She thinks this is his moment to step up.

One more road team – I’m picking the Patriots to go into Seattle and take down the Seahawks. Watching Cam Newton last week was a revelation, and while I think he’ll have a little more trouble against Seattle’s D, I think he also has more to show in terms of throwing the ball. It’ll be a tough go, but I think they’ll prevail. Stella, much to my chagrin, has picked the home Seahawks. She likes Russell Wilson A LOT, and thinks that the Seattle skill position guys mostly outshine the Pats on offense. The defenses are a bit more evenly matched, but she thinks Wilson and company will find ways to exploit New England’s mushiness in the middle.

And last but not least, in the Monday night game, I have the Raiders pulling out a win at home against the Saints. Do I think Derek Carr is an elite quarterback? I do not. But that field is covered with burners that are going to bust loose on at least a couple of big plays. And running back Josh Jacobs is a workhorse. If Vegas can control the pace, they’ll pull it out. Stella thinks they’ll have trouble doing that, since she expects Drew Brees to throw the ball all over the place. And while the issues of top wideout Michael Thomas are troublesome, she just thinks that New Orleans has too much firepower even without him for the Raiders defense to keep up.

And there you have it. Seven games. It could be that we’re all square after this week. Or maybe I’m half-a-dozen back. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’m cautiously optimistic. And Stella, as always, remains unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 17

CINCINNATI at Cleveland

Sunday, Sept. 20

NY Giants at CHICAGO

Atlanta at DALLAS

Detroit at GREEN BAY

Jacksonville at TENNESSEE

MINNESOTA at Indianapolis

BUFFALO at Miami

SAN FRANCISCO at NY Jets

LA RAMS at Philadelphia

Denver at PITTSBURGH

Carolina at TAMPA BAY

Washington at ARIZONA

KANSAS CITY at LA Chargers

BALTIMORE at Houston

NEW ENGLAND at Seattle

Monday, Sept. 21

New Orleans at LAS VEGAS

Week 1 record: 8-8

Season record: 8-8

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Sept. 17

Cincinnati at CLEVELAND

Sunday, Sept. 20

NY Giants at CHICAGO

ATLANTA at Dallas

Detroit at GREEN BAY

Jacksonville at TENNESSEE

Minnesota at INDIANAPOLIS

Buffalo at MIAMI

SAN FRANCISCO at NY Jets

LA Rams at PHILADELPHIA

Denver at PITTSBURGH

Carolina at TAMPA BAY

Washington at ARIZONA

KANSAS CITY at LA Chargers

BALTIMORE at Houston

New England at SEATTLE

Monday, Sept. 21

NEW ORLEANS at Las Vegas

Week 1 record: 11-5

Season record: 11-5

Last modified on Thursday, 17 September 2020 15:14

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